Studio Notes: 7 Weird and Cool Confessions of a Jewelry Maker

The first heat of the season is pouring it on. So, sitting at the bench today, I thought of weird things I do as a jewelry maker, which make me feel more productive in summer.

1.      I dress for work as a jewelry maker the night before. An old T shirt and cutoffs are great for sleeping and wear well in the studio the next day. Saves time picking out a perfect outfit on humid mornings.

2.      A T shirt and cutoffs also function as a wearable tool. I grab a wad of T shirt at my waist to dry the inside of a ring after scrubbing away polishing compound residue. Denim on my thighs is perfect for flatter pieces.

3.      As a jewelry maker, I work alone, so appearance isn’t critical. If someone visits, I tell them I’m not home. Works every time.

4.      My night-to-day outfit absorbs water, especially if I spill some on myself. This turns my clothing into a body-sized swamp cooler when I stand in front of a portable fan.

5.      My concrete floor is 55 degrees. When I drop something, I enjoy the time I spend looking for it. Sometimes I lay down there for 15 minutes, collecting tiny scraps of sterling silver and strayed gems. Occasionally, this task pays for itself.

6.      When I finally pull myself back up to the bench, I put on my magnifying glasses and pick up a pendant I have been working on for two weeks. Then I notice my nails and cuticles are unsightly, as is usually the case for a jewelry maker. Fortunately, my bench top is covered with sanding sticks, warm soapy water, a nail brush, good lighting, hand cream and ultrafine flush cutters for a quick clean up. SAFETY TIP: Although my tetanus shot is up to date, I clean the cutters in the Ultrasonic, then swab them down with alcohol, before starting this beauty routine.

7.      Feet are next. I soak them in a bucket of warm, soapy water (Dawn is conveniently located next to the shot-filled tumbler). Then I dig out a coarse, unmounted diamond flat lap wheel, hold it firmly in my freshly manicured hand and exfoliate gently. A drop of cooling wintergreen oil adds fragrance.


Betsy Lehndorff has been writing for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 2010. You can reach her at

Post a Comment